Bob Crocker  

Seed Pod by Bob Crocker

September 2020 - Seed Pod

About the Image(s)

Seed Pod
This is a photo taken of seed pods from a velvet leaf plant that sprung up in a empty planter along the side of our house. Due to it's large size, we thought the plant was a sunflower. But after small blooms arrived and these pods grew rapidly, we knew this was something different. The pods start out green, then turn black with age; thought the black pods made for a better composition. Shot this image using my Sony a6500, 90mm macro lens, at f5.6 using a combination of flash and ambient light. This is a focus stack of 10 images. The images were merged, then cropped in Affinity Photo, additional processing continued in ON1 where I added some dynamic contrast and sharpness to the pods only. Also boosted the brightness a little bit in the mid range.

9 comments posted

Mary Hinsen   Mary Hinsen
Hi Bob. I really like the result focus stacking gives you. I will have to try it for myself.
With your focus stack, would you be able to bring into focus the softer areas at the base of the left-hand seed pod? I think it would improve the look of that pod and the beautiful depth you have achieved overall in the image.   Posted: 09/10/2020 00:06:15
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Hi Mary, thanks for the input. I'm still experimenting with focus stacking. I could have got the 2nd pod in focus if I would have taken more images to add to the stack but I was losing my light. From what I've read and seen from others that do a lot of stacking is you must consistent light for all the images in the stack or it might cause weird artifacts to form during the merging process.   Posted: 09/17/2020 10:11:46

Cindy Lynch   Cindy Lynch
I love the texture and sharpness of the front seed pod and the backlighting of the hairs on the stem. The fact that the sharpness falls off on the back pod works fine in this image. The blurred green background really shows off your subject. If you are not going to use this for nature competition, I would suggest cloning out the left part of the stem up to where it joins the back pod. Nice work.   Posted: 09/15/2020 21:39:52
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Thanks Cindy. I was torn between shooting the pods while they were green, or after they dried and turned black but were still on the plant. I have images of both, but the black pods with the white hairs, etc. really stood out from the background. I agree, the stem is still distracting. There was a small, dried out leaf on that tip which I cloned out but that whole stem should go for sure.   Posted: 09/17/2020 10:15:32

Jessica Manelis   Jessica Manelis
Great clarity on the pods! It really shows the texture and fuzz! I don't mind the green blurred background, but the stem on the lower left seems to be cut off as if you erased it. I would actually see if you could eliminate that little bit of stem and just have the one pod on the left growing up.   Posted: 09/17/2020 10:58:34
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Thanks Jessica, I'm going to work on this image and erase that bottom stem completely, and see how it looks. It will involve a lot of cloning which concerns me about having to much area to blend. Will try to post before this months page shuts down.   Posted: 09/18/2020 08:46:03

Marcela Stegemueller   Marcela Stegemueller
I like the sharpness that you achieved with your focus stacking especially because it sounds like you photographed them outside. You mentioned you were losing your light, but you made good use of it while you had it. I like the green background. It complements the color of the pods and does not distracts. I agree with you that deleting the section of stem of the pod in the back is necessary.
Did you consider photographing these pods indoors under controlled lighting?   Posted: 09/17/2020 22:03:34
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Thanks Marcela, In fact I did clip off a stem to use in my basement "studio", folks here putting on a new roof, loud noise and too many distractions. I also thought about showing the pods while they were green. I have several shots of them in that condition but the background is so distracting I didn't think they were post worthy.   Posted: 09/18/2020 08:49:28

Nelson Charette   Nelson Charette
Very nice, I enjoy playing around with focus stacking, as you said maybe shooting a few more images and you could get the back in focus. I keep meaning to try focus stacking with flash, but haven't done it yet.   Posted: 09/21/2020 09:38:57


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